St Johnstone need extra quality, says manager Tommy Wright

Summer signing Stefan Scougall started for Saints in Lithuania
Taxi for Saints: Summer signing Stefan Scougall exited Europe at the first hurdle

Manager Tommy Wright made a case for new signings after St Johnstone were eliminated from the first round of Europa League qualifying in Lithuania.

Trailing 2-1 from the home leg, Saints lost 1-0 to a late Trakai goal.

"Our approach play was good, but we lacked quality in the final third and that's killed us," said Wright.

"We need to get more quality in to take us to the next level. If we don't then we'll end up with more frustrating performances like that."

The Perth side had plenty of possession, but defender Joe Shaughnessy, who scored in the first leg, squandered three headed chances.

Maksim Maksimov netted the only goal on 88 minutes, with Trakai playing most of the second half with 10 men after the dismissal of captain Arunas Klimavicius for a second booking.

"You can't say we played badly," Wright told BBC Scotland. "We made opportunities.

"I'm extremely disappointed for the players because they put a lot into the game.

"We put two good crosses into the box all night and the keeper has had to make two saves.

"The final ball let us down. Crosses just weren't good enough.

"We have given away three poor goals and that's been the difference. They have defended better than us."

'We've let ourselves down'

Summer signings Stefan Scougall and Scott Tanser both started in Vilnius, but Wright is anxious to strengthen his squad further.

"We're a good side," he said. "We're hard to beat. But, when it comes to games like this and we need to break teams dow,n we don't have that quality.

"We're a small club with the ninth or 10th (smallest) budget in the league. When it comes to Europe and we don't have that quality, that's when it's highlighted most."

Saints' exit follows Rangers' shock defeat by Progres Niederkorn of Luxembourg, while Celtic and Aberdeen begin their European campaigns next week.

"You could argue Scottish football in Europe has been in decline for a long period," added Wright.

"I go back to the fact we are a small club. If we get past the first round, it's a great achievement, but we've let ourselves down.

"I can't speak for other managers, I can only focus on my team and trying to improve my squad.

"I've got really good players and they give everything, but how do you get better in Europe? You need that extra quality.

"I look at the league and it's so strong. I think we'll do well again. But, if we want to maintain fourth place, we've got to get players in."

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